In the last few weeks I have been doing a lot of canning. Well, at least a lot for me. Between work and school, it’s hard to fit in a canning session. I usually do it late at night when I get home from work. I set some jars in the canner and attend to my classes (I take them online). Most of my caning has been tomatoes. I put up a bunch because that is the one pantry staple I cannot live with out. I’m always using caned tomatoes for something. Chili, pasta, stews, soups. You name it. I have about 5 quarts and about 20 pints. Even though I live alone, that’s not enough. Now, I just have to find room for them in this tiny kitchen. Looks like I’ll be tucking them behind glasses and dishes.
I wanted to do more pickles, but I haven’t gotten around to getting more cucumbers. Although, I just came across a wonderful sounding recipe for Ploughman’s Pickle (fall veggies!) in Karen Solomon’s new book, Can It, Pickle It, Smoke It. Mmmm, pickled fall veggies… I sense quite a few projects from that book.
In the meantime, I had some increasingly sad looking peaches in the refrigerator that need to be dealt with. I thought about chutney, but I never did gather all the ingredients. What I did have was the right stuff for jam. Namely Peach-vanilla-bourbon jam. I ended up adapting jam recipes from a few different recipes, but generally they were the same. Peaches, sugar, lemon juice, pectin, plus something. I used a recipe from Canning, a Better Homes & Gardens special magazine, as the basis for this jam.
adapted from Canning, BH&G, Nectarine and Vanilla Bean Jam
- 4 c chopped, peeled ripe nectarines (I used peaches)
- 1/4 c lemon juice
- 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
- 7 c sugar
- 1/4 c bourbon
- 3 oz packet liquid fruit pectin
In a 6-8 quart heavy pot, combine nectarines and lemon juice. Using a potato masher, crush the nectarines to create a pulp. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla beans into the pot. Stir in the vanilla bean pods and the sugar. Bring mixture to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Add bourbon.
Increase heat to medium-high; bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Quickly stir in pectin. Return to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil hard for one minute. Remove from heat. Quickly skim off foam with a metal spoon. Remove and discard vanilla bean.
Ladle hot jam into hot, sterilized half-pint canning jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe rims; adjust lids.
Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 5 minutes (start timing when water returns to boiling). Remove jars from canner; cool on a wire rack. Makes 6 half pints.
It seems like this jam and the end of the tomatoes marks the end of summer. Time to switch gears and start thinking of sauerkraut and applesauce, bread and soups. Kinda sad… But I’ll have the gifts of summer on my shelves all winter long.
I think this jam looks so pretty and jewel-like. Some lucky friend or family member just may get a jar for Christmas…